The Perfect Scope Statement

1. What sections should the perfect scope statement contain?

2. Most projects find managing scope to be a challenge. What can we add to a scope statement that could help manage project scope better (if anything?)

3. If I ever had experience with scope statements, when has the scope statement worked particularly well, and why? or When wasn’t a scope statement helpful (or even caused problems)?

1.What should be included in a perfect scope statement?

As per PMBOK Knowledge goes a perfect scope statement should include the following:

Overall description of the project: It’s analogs to WBS 100% rule. It must include all aspect that we need to cover/execute in the project.

Deliverables: More like setting the feature of the project and defining criteria/threshold that will satisfy the client or can give a progression of the project towards the big picture. It’s the ‘What’ of the project.

Justification: This is the ‘Why’ of the project. Identifying the reason the project is being executed. Also, an important tool to identify the closing phase of the project whether the project is giving the required output which was approved upon.

Constraints: Constraints is mainly used to define the boundaries of the project from project manager’s perspective. It is not similar to Inclusion and Exclusion. Constraints are more related to cost, scope, time and quality of the project.

Assumption: Although I wouldn’t agree upon having an assumption in the project, the Project manager does tend to make an assumption. I would suggest making an as accurate assumption as possible based in Hard Facts and experience.

Inclusion/ Exclusion: It’s more like a do’s and don ts of the project. It’s mentioned in the scope in terms of stake holder’s perspective by identifying what will be included in the project and what will be excluded in the project. Inclusion and Exclusion is one of the key features to prevent scope creep.

Approval: I couldn’t stress anymore but get approval from your stakeholder either in the form of signature or e-signature. it is what that makes the document official

2.The Challenges in managing scope?

Few of the major challenges that are faced while managing scopes are:

Time Consumption: Oh yes! It is an issue. When a Project is being initiated most of the project team member want to start right off with the project rather than planning for the scope due to following reason such as project members eager to start with the project, Critical deadlines and team members assigned to more than one project etc.

Underestimating the complexity of the project: Mostly seen in the new project that industries are not familiar with. The project mostly runs into the problem because project manager underestimates the project’s complexity.

Poor Requirement Analysis: A client doesn’t always know what it wants. Project Manager refer to that as ‘I’ll Know it when I see it‘ syndrome (Ref 1,2017), Getting padded estimate from project team member about the task and much more

Lack of change control: It is one of the major reason for scope creep. Generally, happens during the execution phase of the project where clients demand or request for change.

Gold Plating: It is a term used by the project manager that means to exceed scope than what is required with the expectation that value is being added to the project. Which ultimately in most cases leads to project failure due increased cost and time.

Solution to manage scope:

Some of the few useful yet simple tips that I would recommend to follow is

  • To list all project stakeholder
  • Have a good plan for collecting requirement.
  • Identify primary objective and secondary objective of the project.
  • Note all the possible requirement
  • Most Important make sure you and the client understand the scope and get your scope statement approved by the client.
  • Refine the scope if there is a request or demand for change and get it approved by the client.

3.Personal Experience:

Yes, Indeed I have a bad project scope experience. I remember in my undergrad our professor asked us to design a device that would identify the VI characteristic of Transistor on the Graphic we had a flexible budget and time limit of 6 months. Little did we know that there were multiple types of transistor ranging from High power to low power based on the type. We realized this issue during the execution phase more specifically the testing phase of the project. As we had the device showing the output for low power transistors but for the high power simulation would provide pseudo/false result than what was expected. Moreover, To get chip set to work on higher power level would cost more and would require authorizing access which would and increased the time for the project

Eventually, we had discussed this issue with the professor and refine our problem statement(also known as scope statement) and had to refine problem statement to low power transistor characteristic identifier for the final client. But we were able to negotiate with our professor and said that for high power we would require different chipset that is capable of working on a high power level although the pattern of implementation would be same the only difference would be the chipset that can sustain on high power. This was done by showing simulation with high-level power chips on the required software.

But a lesson learned is a dollar earned.


  • Roseke, B., & About Bernie RosekeBernie Roseke, P.Eng., PMP, is the president of Roseke Engineering. As a bridge engineer and project manager, he manages projects ranging from small, local bridges to multi-million dollar projects. He is also the technical brains behind ProjectEngineer, the online project management system for engineers. He is a licensed professional engineer, certified project manager, and six sigma black belt. He lives in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, with his wife and two kids. (2017, March 13). How to Write a Project Scope Statement. Retrieved March 14, 2017, from
  • Dealing With Scope Management Challenges – Spend Matters. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  • Snyder, C. S. (2013). A user’s manual to the PMBOK guide– fifth edition.


Let me know your view in the comment below,

I am your friendly PM!



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